Answered by Shaykh Omar Subedar
I would like to know about istikhāra; how do I perform it?
The method of performing istikhāra has been explained in the following narration;
Jābir ibn `Abdullāh رضى الله عنه reported, “Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم would teach us istikhāra in all matters just as he would teach us a sūra of the Qur’ān. He would say, “When any one of you intend to do something, he should offer two supererogatory raka’āt and thereafter say, ‘O Allāh, I seek good from you based on Your knowledge, I ask You for strength based on Your power and I ask You for a portion of Your immense bounty. You have power and I do not and You know and I do not. You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allāh, if You know that this matter is good for me in my spirituality, my livelihood and my final affair – or he said, ‘…my immediate and delayed affair’ – then destine it for me and make it easy for me and then bless me in it. [However] if You know that this matter is bad for me in my spirituality, my livelihood and my final affair – or he said, ‘…my immediate and delayed affair’ – then avert it from me and avert me from it and destine something better for me wherever it may be. Thereafter make me content with it.’ He added, “He should then express his need.” [Bukhāri: 1162]
My teacher told us, “Once this has been performed you should ponder over the matter. If you feel serene while thinking about it then you should go ahead with it. On the other hand if you feel uneasy then you should refrain from it. The indication does not have to come in the shape of a dream as is the overwhelming perception nowadays.”
And Allāh Knows Best
This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.